Sometimes 20 Questions Isn't a Game
For whatever reasons you and your husband have decided to call it quits. If you decide you should continue living together while you divorce, it’s important that the two of you make your expectations of each other very clear during this time. Clarity will be the key to your success. Defining rules and boundaries will help keep things civil and focused upon the steps you must take to finalize your divorce.
Here are 20 questions we encourage the two of you to talk through together, to help you clarify yours expectations of each other, and to help you work through your live-in divorce:
- Are we sure neither of us hopes this arrangement will give us the chance to reverse our plans for divorce? If one or both partners is hoping for a reconciliation, seeing a professional counselor right away could help determine the next steps.
- Will our living together interfere with our need to move on, especially for our children? How can we be sure we stay on task and do not delay our divorce?
- Do we have a target move-out date for one or both of us to move out? If not, how will we define when that time should be? Before or after our divorce is final?
- How will we pay for our household expenses?
- What money will we share, and what money will be kept separate?
- While living together, how will we use our credit?
- During our divorce, will one of us be required to pay any child support? If yes, how will be ensuring the court order is met?
- How will any of this change if one of us leaves the family home sooner than planned?
- How much of this are we going to include in the court’s orders for our legal separation or our divorce agreement, and how much of it will be a matter of trusting each other?
- Is there any space in our home to be declared out of bounds, off-limits to one or the other, not without invitation?
- Are there any particular spaces in our home that either of us needs exclusive access to for short periods of time, like the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room? Do we need to write up an individual-use schedule for these shared spaces?
- How are we going to deal with maintaining household duties? Will we continue as things may have been before divorce was brought to the table? Or does there need to be new division of work assignments as to who will clean the house, who will do laundry, who will clean the bathroom(s), etc.? Will we split these duties or will we each be on our own?
- How will we handle mealtimes in the home? Will we cook separately? Will we eat separately? If you have children, you may decide to take turns to have meals with your children on set days of the week?
- How are we going to handle dating? Is either of us allowed to bring a romantic interest home with us? If yes, when? What will be our ground rules as to what one spouse should do when the other brings anyone into the house? How will the people we are considering dating react to our continuing to live together after divorce? Will it be appropriate to introduce the children to a love interest?
- Is there anyone whose presence in the home would create difficulty or emotional hardship?
- How will we handle having friends—mutual friends or separate friends—over to our house? Do we need to keep our social plans outside of the home, or do we need to designate times during which we can have someone over?
- Can we have any extended family members in our home? Can our in-laws handle our arrangement while we finalize our divorce, or do we need to keep in-laws and extended family interactions outside our home?
- Are we going to sleep in the same bed? If not, what will our sleeping arrangements be?
- Are we going to have sex with each other? We need to be on the same page with this one, as it has the potential to make things very messy and confusing if expectations are not very clear and well defined.
- How are we going to explain our living arrangement to our children, friends, and family? Will we give one explanation to some and another explanation to others? How will we keep our various stories straight?
If you both work to make your expectations of one another very clear and well-defined, doing so will minimize confusion and the potential for drama. Rather than find yourselves fighting over the bathroom, or who is and who is not welcome in your home, you can relax knowing what you’re dealing with and what the limits are, and instead focus on getting things done, which includes your divorce.
To help speed things along, discuss your situation with your lawyer so that they can advise you as to what is best course of action for your individual situation. At the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan, we are well familiar with the questions you may be asking. Give us a call or contact us via our online contact form.